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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

El Chapo: Awaiting the Tunnel

I have to admit that from the moment I heard about El Chapo's escape from a Mexican prison via a tunnel built for him from his cell to a house somewhat down the road from the prison ... well, it struck a chord in me. When I was a kid, a long time ago, I thought that one way of remaining free if anyone from the government or wherever came after me was to build a tunnel from underneath my house to some nondescript town in upstate New York.  Of course, that tunnel would have needed to be a lot longer than what El Chapo had built, but, I still had to admire his accomplishment.

I was therefore eager to see this new Netflix series (shown first on Univision).  Alas, it leaves El Chapo in prison long before his tunnel, before even his earlier successful prison escape via other means.  But it's still a pretty good short series, with more to follow in September.

This first season in effect consists of two parts: El Chapo rising to power as a drug lord, and his apprehension and incarceration in prison.  Both are interesting in different ways.  The first has young El Chapo meeting Pablo Escobar in Colombia - a harkening back to Narcos and Pablo's story.  The second is a grim and gritty prison story, and the hell that El Chapo was put through, his spirit remaining unbroken.

There's also a lot, in both parts, about the Mexican government, and its struggle to contain corruption in its own ranks.  All in all, a riveting story, well told and well acted by Marco de la O in the title role, and I'm looking forward to more.  Although El Chapo cannot be considered a good man, his story nonetheless is a tableau of the resilience of the human spirit.

no tunnels here but plenty of crime
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